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Assessment of the River Water Pollution Levels
in Kuantan, Malaysia, Using Ion-Exclusion
Chromatographic Data, Water Quality Indices, and
Land Usage Patterns
Daisuke Kozaki1, Mohd Hasbi bin Ab. Rahim1, Wan Mohd Faizal bin Wan Ishak1,
Mashitah M. Yusoff1, Masanobu Mori2, Nobutake Nakatani3 and Kazuhiko Tanaka2
1
Faculty of Industrial Sciences and Technology, Universiti Malaysia Pahang, Gambang, Pahang, Malaysia. 2Graduate School of Science and
_
Technology, Gunma University, Kiryu, Gunma, Japan. 3Department of Environmental and Symbiotic Science, College of Agriculture, Food
and Environment Sciences, Rakuno Gakuen University, Ebetsu, Hokkaido, Japan.
ABSTR ACT: Water qualities of three suburban rivers, namely, Kuantan, Belat, and Galing rivers, in Kuantan, Malaysia, were examined effectively
by using ion-exclusion/cation-exchange chromatography with water quality indices and land usage data. Specifically, we have focused on evaluating and
grasping the effect of sewage/household wastewater discharged from housing areas in the Kuantan district on the river water quality. Based on this study,
the following beneficial information were obtained effectively: (1) the pollution levels in the three rivers (Kuantan River: Classes I–III, Belat River:
Classes I–III, and Galing River: Classes I–V) are linked with the urbanization level of the river basin area; (2) differences in the biological reactions in the
different pollution level rivers are understood; (3) Galing River is among the most polluted rivers not only in Kuantan but also in the Peninsular Malaysia,
owing to poor water treatment of the sewage/household wastewater discharged from the river basin area.
KEY WORDS: ion-exclusion/cation-exchange chromatography, water quality index, land usage, urban rivers water pollution, effective water quality
assessment, Malaysia
CITATION: Kozaki et al. Assessment of the river Water Pollution levels in Kuantan,
Malaysia, Using ion-exclusion chromatographic data, Water Quality indices,
and land Usage Patterns. Air, Soil and Water Research 2016:9 1–11
doi:10.4137/ASWr.S33017.
TYPE: Original Research
RECEIVED: August 18, 2015. RESUBMITTED: November 8, 2015. ACCEPTED FOR
PUBLICATION: November 11, 2015.
ACADEMIC EDITOR: Carlos Alberto Martinez-Huitle, Editor in Chief
PEER REVIEW: Four peer reviewers contributed to the peer review report. Reviewers’
reports totaled 746 words, excluding any confidential comments to the academic editor.
FUNDING: This study was supported by the internal fund of the Universiti Malaysia
Pahang (RDU 1303126). The authors confirm that the funder had no influence over the
study design, content of the article, or selection of this journal.
Introduction
Water pollution and eutrophication of lakes, rivers, and oceans
have been caused by the increased influx of wastewater due
to rapid economic, industrial, and agricultural development
without the construction of applicable water infrastructure
and treatment facilities.1,2 Water pollution is a particularly
severe problem in developing countries, and adequate water
quality monitoring is required to identify the suitability for
usage and assist with water quality management or improvement. In the 1980s, 42 tributaries in Malaysia were identified
as being highly polluted.3 In the 1990s and 2000s, almost 60%
of the major rivers were regulated for domestic, agricultural,
and industrial purposes, owing to water quality degradation
by the wastewater from housing, industrial, and business/
servicing sectors.4,5
As shown in Figure 1, three rivers, namely Kuantan,
Belat, and Galing, flow through Kuantan city located at the
east coast of Peninsular Malaysia. Kuantan is the state capital
of Pahang and the 17th largest city in Malaysia.6 The National
Physical Plan 2005 identified Kuantan as one of the future
growth centers and a hub for trade, commerce, transportation,
COMPETING INTERESTS: Authors disclose no potential conflicts of interest.
COPYRIGHT: © the authors, publisher and licensee Libertas Academica Limited.
This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons
CC-BY-NC 3.0 License.
CORRESPONDENCE: emerald.green.2-10@hotmail.co.jp; daisuke@ump.edu.my
Paper subject to independent expert blind peer review. All editorial decisions made
by independent academic editor. Upon submission manuscript was subject to antiplagiarism scanning. Prior to publication all authors have given signed confirmation of
agreement to article publication and compliance with all applicable ethical and legal
requirements, including the accuracy of author and contributor information, disclosure of
competing interests and funding sources, compliance with ethical requirements relating
to human and animal study participants, and compliance with any copyright requirements
of third parties. This journal is a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE).
Published by Libertas Academica. Learn more about this journal.
and tourism in the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia, owing
to its strategic location. By following the Kuantan District
Locality Plan 2004–2015, the Kuantan area has rapidly
developed over the last 10 years, leading to environmental
degradation.7–10 As shown in Figures 2 and 3, the east coast
area of Kuantan city are dramatically urbanized and its agricultural and forest regions have been used for housing and
business/servicing purposes (housing area: 0.498%, business/
servicing area: 0.0268%, agricultural area: 11.7, forest area:
16.3%), while a lot of forest and agricultural areas still remain
(housing area: 30.5%, business/servicing area: 5.38%, agricultural area: 20.2%, forest areas: 74.7%) in the west area of
Kuantan and different situations of river water pollution are
expected.
Therefore, our research group focused on the Kuantan,
Belat, and Galing rivers in this research. Kuantan River is
one of the largest rivers of the Peninsular Malaysia that flows
from northwest to east coast in Kuantan. It flows through
four administrative regions that include forests and agricultural areas (K-1–K-4); forests, agricultural areas, and small
villages (K-5–K-6); and the main urban area of Kuantan city
Air, Soil And WAter reSeArch 2016:9
1
Kozaki et al
Figure 1. Maps of the sampling locations.
Notes: The Kuantan, Belat, and Galing river water samples were collected from nine, seven, and eight different sites along these rivers, respectively, in
the daytime. All the river water samples were collected at the center of the river in the surface water layer (0–15 cm from the surface).
Figure 2. Land use map for Kuantan.
Note: This figure was constructed based on the data obtained from the JPBD Pahang Town and Country Planning Department.7
2
Air, Soil And WAter reSeArch 2016:9
Assessment of the river water pollution levels in Kuantan, Malaysia
Figure 3. Land use percentages of the sampled areas of the rivers.
Note: This figure was constructed based on the data obtained from the JPBD Pahang Town and Country Planning Department.7
(K-7–K-9), as shown in Figures 2 and 3.7,8 The Kuantan River
is the major source of water supply for domestic, industrial,
and agricultural purposes that provides 350,000 cubic meters
per day and covers 1630 km 2 of catchment area.8,11 The Belat
River is the second largest river that flows from southwest
to east coast in Kuantan and flows through one administrative region that includes forests, agricultural areas, middlelevel villages, and urban areas (B-1–B-7). The Belat River is
also a source of domestic water supply and covers 43.27 km 2
of catchment area.12 The Galing River flows through the
Kuantan city on the east coast of Kuantan and has two tributary streams that merge into a single artery (G1–G5) immediately before joining the Kuantan River and the main drainage
system of the Kuantan.7,13 The Galing River flows through
the most urbanized area of Kuantan, as shown in Figures 2
and 3. The western side of this river is indicated by notations
G1-1–G1-5, whereas its eastern side is denoted by notations
G2-1–G2-3 in Figure 1. The catchment area and length of the
Galing River are 22.7 km 2 and 7.7 km, respectively. Owing to
the different land usages as detailed above, different levels of
pollution are expected. Therefore, our research group focuses
on effectively understanding and evaluating the effect of the
sewage/household wastewater discharged from urbanized
areas in the Kuantan district on the river water quality by
using ion-exclusion/cation-exchange chromatographic (IEC/
CEC) data with water quality index (WQI) and land usage
patterns.
In this study, several key water quality parameters, such as
dissolved oxygen (DO), total phosphate (TP), chemical oxygen
demand (COD), and pH, which are used in the WQI classification of the Department of Environment, Malaysia, were
monitored, as shown in Table 1. These parameters are closely
related to river water quality degradation caused by sewage/
household wastewater.1,14 Additionally, IEC/CEC data were
Table 1. Classification of ammoniacal nitrogen, COD, DO, and pH in the WQI of the Department of Energy in Malaysia.
CLASS
USES
PARAMETER
NH4 + -N (mg/L)
COD (mg/L)
DO (mg/L)
pH
I
Conservation of natural environment
Water Supply I—practically no treatment necessary
Fishery I—very sensitive aquatic species
,0.1
,10
.7
6.5–8.5
II
Water Supply II—conventional treatment required
Recreational use with body contact
Fishery II—sensitive aquatic species
0.1–0.3
10–25
5–7
6.5–9.0
III
Water Supply III—extensive treatment required
Fishery III—common, of economic value,
and tolerant species; livestock drinking
0.3–0.9
25–50
3–5
5.0–9.0
IV
Irrigation
0.9–2.7
50–100
1–3
5.0–9.0
V
None of the above
.2.7
.100
,1
–
Note: Source: Ref. 14.
Air, Soil And WAter reSeArch 2016:9
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Kozaki et al
applied to determine the various anions (SO42-, Cl-, and
NO3 -) and cations (Na+, K+, NH4 +, Mg2+, and Ca 2+) present
in the river water, which are important for understanding
several biological reactions in aquatic environments. 2
Generally, to monitor anions and cations, either two ion
chromatographic systems or using anion-exchange and cationexchange chromatographic separations twice is required. In
this study, IEC/CEC data for the simultaneous determination
of anions and cations were used to simplify and demonstrate
effective monitoring.15–17 The above IEC/CEC data and several parameters used in the WQI were effectively evaluated
along with the land usage data to understand the severity of
pollution, owing to urbanization.
Materials and Methods
Reagents. All the reagents were obtained from SigmaAldrich Co. (Greater St. Louis, MO, USA). Pure water
(18 MΩ cm at 25°C) obtained from an ELGA-DV25 system was used for dissolving and diluting the reagents. The
standard solutions used in the IEC/CEC system were diluted
from the stock solutions to the appropriate concentrations
with pure water.
River water sampling. In this study, to precisely assess
the water quality degradation by the sewage/household
wastewater from urbanized areas, we collected the water
samples in June, which was the month with the lowest mean
precipitation (132.8 mm) from 2008 to 2013 in Kuantan.18 The
Kuantan, Belat, and Galing river water samples were collected
from nine (on June 1, 2014), seven (on June 8, 2014), and eight
(on June 14, 2014) different sites in the daytime, respectively.
All the river water samples were collected at the center of the
river in the surface water layer (0–15 cm from the surface). The
water samples for the IEC/CEC system were filtered through
a membrane filter (ϕ 0.45 urn; Acrodisc®–25 mm syringe
filters; Pall Corp.) immediately following collection and then
refrigerated at 6°C. The water samples for monitoring COD
and TP were refrigerated without filtration at 6°C.
IEC/CEC system for anions and cations. The IEC/
CEC system consists of an eluent delivering pump (DP8020; Tosoh), an oven for separation column (CTO-10Avp;
Shimadzu), and a conductivity detector (CDD-6A; Shimadzu).
To obtain good separation resolutions for the IEC/CEC
peaks, two TSKgel Super IC-A/C separation columns packed
with a polymethacrylate-supported weakly acidic cationexchange resin (WCX) in the H+ -form (150 mm × 6.0 mm
ID; 4 μm particle size, and 0.1 meq/mL capacity) were connected in tandem. The column temperature, eluent flow
rate, and injection volume were 40°C, 0.5 mL/minute,
and 30 μL, respectively.
The IEC/CEC system is able to separate anions based
on ion-exclusion/penetration effects in the WCX phase and
cations based on the cation-exchange effect with functional
groups (carboxylate groups) in the column, as shown in
Figure 4A and B. The eluent contained a mixture of 6.0 mM
tartaric acid and 2.0 mM 18-crown-6. Under optimal conditions, the calibration curves of the analyte were linear in
the 0.050–1.0 mM range, and the correlation coefficients
were 0.9958–0.9999. The detection limits (S/N = 3) were
0.632–2.22 μM. The relative standard deviation of the peak
areas of the analyte ions were 0.40–1.5%.
Analyses of WQI. DO was determined locally using a
DO meter (DO-31P; DKK-TOA Corp.) immediately following sample collection. COD was determined by using a
UV-visible detector (DR900; Hach Company) with a COD
test reagent (COD-HR; C-MAC) based on the dichromate
method using potassium dichromate.19 TP was determined
by a UV–visible detector with a TP test reagent (TP-HR;
C-MAC) based on the decomposition of a phosphorus
compound using alkali metal salts of peroxodisulfate and
phosphovanadomolybdate.20 The pH values were measured
Figure 4. Ion-exclusion/cation-exchange chromatogram of inorganic anions and cations. Injected sample: (A) a mixture of MgSO 4, KCl, NaNO3, NH4Cl,
and KNO3 (1.0 mM each) and (B) river water sampled at point K-6 in the Kuantan River (Fig. 2).
Notes: Separation column: Two TSKgel Super IC-A/C columns (150 mm × 6.0 mm ID) packed with WCX in the H + -form; eluent: 6 mM tartaric acid and
2 mM 18-crown-6 ether; column temperature: 40°C; flow rate: 0.5 mL/minute; injection volume: 30 µL; and detector: conductivity. Peak: 1 = SO 42-, 2 = Cl-,
3 = NO3 -, 4 = elution dip, 5 = Na +, 6 = NH4+, 7 = K+, 8 = Mg2+, and 9 = Ca2+.
4
Air, Soil And WAter reSeArch 2016:9
Assessment of the river water pollution levels in Kuantan, Malaysia
using a pH meter (CyberScan pH 510; Thermo Scientific) in
the laboratory immediately following collection.
Results and Discussion
Distribution of the WQI in Kuantan, Belat, and
Galing rivers. The total average percentage of the forest area
of the Kuantan River basin is 52.3%, which is the highest
value among the three rivers (Kuantan, Belat, and Galing)
as shown in Figure 3. In contrast, housing and business/
servicing areas comprise 7.78% and 0.829% of the Kuantan
River basin, respectively, and these values are the lowest
among the three rivers. These land usage data show that the
Kuantan River basin has the lowest human activity and the
lowest average values of COD (11.5 mg/L), TP (1.01 mg/L),
and total inorganic nitrogen (TIN; NO3 - -N plus NH4 + -N)
(0.177 mg/L), but the highest DO value (5.39 mg/L) among
the three rivers as shown in Figure 5.
In contrast, the total average percentages of housing
and business/servicing areas of the Galing River basin are
30.5% and 5.38%, respectively; these values are the highest
among the three river basins, while its forest area comprises
16.3% of the total basin area. These data show that the Galing
River basin area is the most urbanized river basin and has the
highest human activity. Therefore, the average values of COD
Figure 5. Comparison of (A) COD (n = 4); (B) TP (n = 3); (C) TIN (NO3 - -N plus NH4+ -N) (n = 3); (D) DO (n = 3); and (E) pH (n = 3) for the Kuantan, Belat,
and Galing rivers.
Air, Soil And WAter reSeArch 2016:9
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Kozaki et al
(29.6 mg/L), TP (2.63 mg/L), and TIN (4.12 mg/L) are the
highest, while that of DO (3.04 mg/L) is the lowest as shown
in Figure 5.
In the Belat River basin, the total average percentages
of housing and business/servicing areas are 21.1% and 1.69%,
respectively, while the forest area comprises 15.3% of the total
basin area. These land usage data show that the urbanization
level of the Belet River basin area is intermediate between
that of the Galing and Kuantan river basins. Therefore, the
average values of COD (19.9 mg/L), TP (1.45 mg/L), TIN
(0.291 mg/L), and DO (4.82 mg/L) are also intermediate
between those of the Galing and Kuantan river basins.
Additionally, significant differences were observed
between the values of COD, TP, TIN, and DO of the Kuantan
and Belat rivers (P (COD): 1.22 × 10 -8, P (TP): 9.47 × 10-4, P (TIN):
1.95 × 10 -5, and P (DO): 1.01 × 10 -4) and between those of the
Belat and Galing rivers (P (COD): 1.10 × 10 -4, P (TP): 3.28 × 10 -2,
P (TIN): 5.84 × 10 -15, and P (DO): 1.56 × 10 -6), as shown by the
statistical t-test (P = 0.05). Considering pH, the significant
difference between Kuantan and Belat rivers (P (pH): 0.206)
was not shown, whereas that between Belat and Galing rivers
(P (pH): 1.56 × 10 -6) was shown by the statistical t-test.
From the above results, it may be concluded that increase
in COD, TP, and TIN and decrease in the DO values in
the following order: Kuantan River , Belat River , Galing
River, and that these values are inseparably connected with
changes in land usage (urbanization). These values also show
that the Galing River is the most polluted river among the
three rivers.
Distribution of the ionic concentrations in the
Kuantan, Belat, and Galing rivers. In the water samples
obtained from the Kuantan and Belat rivers, the concentrations
of all the ions, except NH4 +, gradually increased from upstream
to middle-stream, as shown in Figure 6. The concentrations of
NH4 + did not show any consistent pattern. In the case of the
Galing River, no particular trends were seen in the concentrations of the ions from upstream to middle-stream.
Additionally, among the rivers monitored, the concentrations of almost ions, except NO3 -, increased in the following
order: Kuantan River , Belat River , Galing River, in the same
order as the total average percentages of housing and business/
servicing areas in each river basin area. In statistical t-test, significant difference between Kuantan, Belat and Galing rivers
were obtained for all the ions (P = 1.51 × 10 -15–2.66 × 10 -3),
except NH4 + and Ca 2+, between Kuantan and Belat rivers.
From the above results, it may be concluded that the increase
in the ionic concentrations, except NO3 -, was closely related
with changes in the land usage (urbanization), which is same
as WQI data.
The ionic concentrations, with the exception of NO3 - and
NH4 +, increased drastically (SO42-: 68.3–2730 mg/L, Cl-:
311–13,290 mg/L, Na+: 154–6429 mg/L, K+: 12.6–291 mg/L,
Mg2+: 33.8–1363 mg/L, and Ca 2+: 11.0–317 mg/L), and the
compositions of the samples dramatically changed from
6
Air, Soil And WAter reSeArch 2016:9
middle-stream to downstream (Kuantan River: K-7–K-9,
Belat River: B-7, and Galing River: G1-4–G1-5). As shown
in Figure 7, the average concentration ratios of the ions in the
downstream regions resembled the ion concentration ratios in
seawater, 21 suggesting that the main reason for the increasing
ion concentrations in the downstream regions was mixing of
river water with seawater. According to Faudzi et al, the average salinity values of K-7 and K-9 were 18.72 and 28.58 ppt
(g/L), respectively, and high salinity was detected in every
season.22 From the above results, Kuantan, Belat, and Galing
river water samples obtained within 12.6, 9.0, and 1.8 km
from the estuary, respectively, were affected by seawater, and
it is difficult to evaluate the effect of the discharged sewage/
household wastewater from the urbanized areas at these
sampling points by the IEC/CEC system.
Thus, it can be concluded that the ion concentrations
were affected by two factors: the increasing percentages of
housing and business/servicing areas (urbanization level) and
mixing of river water with seawater.
Comparison of the biological reactions in Kuantan,
Belat, and Galing rivers. As shown in Figure 8A and B,
the concentrations of NO3 - -N were 3.71–18.1 times and
4.44–14.9 times higher than those of NH4 + -N in the
Kuantan and Belat rivers, respectively. Additionally, the DO
values in the Kuantan (4.59–5.98 mg/L) and Belat rivers
(3.95–6.24 mg/L) suggest that these rivers are in the aerobic
state.23,24 Therefore, aerobic oxidation of organic compounds
by microorganisms and nitrification reactions by nitrifying
bacteria could occur in these rivers.25 Through aerobic oxidation, the organic compounds in the river water decompose
into NH3 and dissolve as NH4 +. Subsequently, NH4 + derived
from the decomposed organic compounds and present in the
sewage/household wastewater is oxidized into NO3 - through
nitrification. Consequently, the concentration of NO3 - was
higher than that of NH4 + in the Kuantan and Belat rivers.
In contrast, the NH4 + concentration was 11.9–1182 times
higher than the NO3 - concentration in the Galing River
(Fig. 8C). Additionally, the average DO value in the Galing
River was 2.87 mg/L, indicating a poor aerobic state.23,24
Owing to anaerobic decomposition of organic compounds in
the river water, gases such as CO2 and CH4 and ions such
as NH4 + and HPO42- were generated. Additionally, NH4 +
derived from the decomposed organic compounds and present in the discharged sewage/household wastewater was not
oxidized under low-oxygen conditions. NO3 - was reduced to
N2 gas through denitrification.26 Consequently, the concentration of NH4 + was higher than that of NO3 -.
Relationships between COD and TIN in Kuantan,
Belat, and Galing rivers. From the data obtained, a good
positive correlation (r 2 = 0.792) between TIN and COD was
obtained for the Kuantan and Belat rivers. In contrast, a different trend was observed for the Galing River, as shown in
Figure 9. The COD values increased in a phased manner in the
following order: Kuantan River , Belat River , Galing River,
Assessment of the river water pollution levels in Kuantan, Malaysia
Figure 6. Comparison of the inorganic ion concentrations (A) SO 42-; (B) Cl-; (C) NO3 -; (D) Na +; (E) NH4+; (F) K+; (G) Mg2+; and (H) Ca2+ for the Kuantan,
Belat, and Galing rivers.
Air, Soil And WAter reSeArch 2016:9
7
Kozaki et al
Figure 7. Comparison of the concentration ratio of sea water (A: sea
water 21) and collected water samples (B: K–7, C: K–8, D: K–9, E: B–7,
F: G1–4, and G: G1–5).
and a significant difference between the Kuantan, Belat, and
Galing rivers were observed using the statistical t-test. The
TIN values increased in the same order as COD, and there
was a dramatic increase in the TIN value in the Galing River
compared with the Kuantan and Belat rivers. A significant
difference in TIN values was observed between the Kuantan,
Belat, and Galing rivers using the statistical t-test, and the
smallest P-value was obtained for the Belat and Galing rivers
(P (TIN): 5.84 × 10 -15). Based on the above results, the sewage/
household wastewater discharged from the Galing River basin
area is predicted to contain quite high concentrations of TIN
(NH4 + -N) compared with that discharged from the Kuantan
and Belat river basin areas.
Additionally, a close relationship between the above trends
and the types of sewage/household wastewater treatment
8
Air, Soil And WAter reSeArch 2016:9
systems used in Kuantan city is expected. In Kuantan, there
are 228 sewerage treatment plants, many of which were
built in the early 1970s, of which individual septic tanks
(ISTs) serve 51%, the centralized sewer system serves 47%,
and ­
individual primitive systems serve the remaining 2%
of sewage/household wastewater.27 However, ISTs are not
highly efficient in removing nutrients and organic compounds
(COD) with removal capacities of 5–18%28 and 50–78%,29
respectively.
As a result, high concentrations of TIN and COD were
presumed to be obtained in the Galing River samples, owing
to deficiencies in the water treatment capacity for sewage/
household wastewater from the Galing River basin area.
Comparison of the monitored rivers with other major
urban rivers in Malaysia. Finally, we compared the Kuantan,
Belat, and Galing rivers with eight major urban rivers that
pass through principal cities that are in the top 20 in terms of
population in Malaysia.6
As shown in Table 2, the Galing River has the second
highest concentration of NH4 + -N, whereas the Belat and
Kuantan rivers have the second lowest and the lowest NH4 + -N
concentrations among all the rivers considered. Normally, the
amount of ammonia in surface waters in urban areas is influenced by human activities, such as sewage treatment plant
effluents, industrial point sources, and untreated water discharged from human sewage or household waste. 30
Further, the Galing River has the fifth highest maximum COD value, whereas the Belat and Kuantan rivers
have the third lowest and the lowest maximum COD values,
respectively. In contrast, the Galing River has the third lowest
minimum DO value, whereas the Belat and Kuantan rivers
have the second highest and the highest minimum DO values,
respectively. In developing countries, urban rivers are used as
a drainage system, and hence, they are polluted because of the
discharge of incompletely treated or untreated human sewage
or household wastewater and because of the delays in the construction of adequate water treatment systems.17
As evident from the above data, the Galing River is one
of the most polluted rivers in the Peninsular Malaysia, and the
construction of adequate sewage treatment systems is required
to preserve the water quality of the Galing River.
Conclusions
In the present study, by using the IEC/CEC data with WQI
and land usage data, we have effectively demonstrated the
following:
(1) The pollution levels in the three rivers (Kuantan River:
Classes I–III, Belat River: Classes I–III, and Galing
River: Classes I–V) are related to the urbanization of the
river basin area (the average percentages of the housing
and business/servicing areas are in the following order:
Kuantan River (7.78% and 0.829%) , Belat River (21.1%
and 1.69%) , Galing River (30.5% and 5.38%)).
Assessment of the river water pollution levels in Kuantan, Malaysia
Figure 8. NO3 - -N, NH4+ -N, and DO contents in the (A) Kuantan River; (B) Belat River; (C) Galing River.
(2) Simultaneous determination of anions and cations using
IEC/CEC data was successfully achieved in order to
study the differences in biological reactions in rivers with
different pollution levels.
(3) Serious pollution in the Galing River is expected by
observing the obtained COD, DO and TIN values
owing to poor water treatment (ISTs: 51%, centralized
sewer system: 47%, and individual primitive systems: 2%)
of the household/sewage wastewater discharged from the
river basin area.
(4) The Galing River is one of the most polluted rivers not
only in Kuantan but also in Peninsular Malaysia because
of the high human activity in the Galing River basin area.
The above results show that the water quality of the
Galing River is a serious concern compared to that of the
Kuanan and Belat rivers, and monitoring of the sewage/
household wastewater discharged from the Galing River
basin area is required in the future to understand its effects
on the Galing River; to optimize the sewage treatment systems from the point of view of their ability to degrade organic
compounds, remove nutrients, and provide aeration; and to
improve the water quality from Class IV/V (e.g., irrigation or
only drainage) to Class II/III (e.g., recreation usage).
Figure 9. Relationship between TIN and COD in the Kuantan, Belat, and
Galing rivers.
Air, Soil And WAter reSeArch 2016:9
9
10
37
37
Sungai Petani (443,488)
Sungai Petani (443,488)
7.53–8.42/Class I
7.30–7.56/Class I
3.42–4.39/Class III
4.23–8.06/Class I–III
1.03–2.53/Class IV
1.03–1.79/Class IV
Merbok River
Petani River
21.8–23.4/Class II
1.47–3.72/Class IV–V
Melana River
27.1–35.0/Class III
35
36
Johor Bahru (497,067)
Johor Bahru (497,067)
6.17–6.74/Class III
–
2.33–4.07/Class III–IV
2.37–7.64/Class I–IV
0.19–5.48/Class II–V
Skudai River
24.0–40.6/Class II–III
0.00–6.94/Class I–V
19.5–71.9/Class II–IV
33
34
Petaling Jaya (613,977)
Kajang (795,522)
6.39–7.09/Class III
6.57–7.44/Class I
0.160–7.58/Class I–V
0.12–2.13/Class II–IV
Penchala River
14.3–219/Class II–V
2.54–7.54/Class I–IV
32
Kuala Lumpur (1,588,750)
Langat River
1.37–165/Class I–V
31
Kuala Lumpur (1,588,750)
7.24/Class I
5.71–7.89/Class III
0.400–10.9/Class I–V
3.19/Class III
1.01–14.7/Class IV–V
Gombak River
4.00–105/Class I–V
4.59/Class V
Klang River
44.0/Class III
This study
Kuantan (427,515)
5.58–6.03/Class III
6.48–6.84/Class III
2.10–4.02/Class III–IV
3.95–6.24/Class II–III
1.30–6.65/Class IV–V
Galing River
7.50–54.0/Class I–IV
0.00–0.0544/Class I
Belat River
13.5–31.8/Class I–II
5.29–6.75/Class III
4.59–5.98/Class II–III
DO (mg/L)
COD (mg/L)
5.75–17.5/Class I–II
0.00–0.0373/Class I
NH4 -N (mg/L)
Acknowledgments
Kuantan River
+
PARAMETER/CLASS
NAME OF THE
RIVER
Table 2. Water quality of Kuantan, Belat, Galing, and several major urban rivers in Malaysia.
pH
CITY (POPULATION)
REFERENCE
Kozaki et al
Air, Soil And WAter reSeArch 2016:9
We appreciate the assistance of Chan Hein Chong, Murni
Hayati binti Esraruddin, and Nor Atiah binti Yunus at the
Faculty of Industrial Sciences & Technology, Universiti
Malaysia Pahang, for help with field research.
Author Contributions
Sample analysis, data evaluation, and drafting of the
manuscript: DK with contribution from MMY, MM, NN,
and KT. Water sample: DK supported with MHbAR and
WMFbWI. Headed the water quality monitoring section of
this project: DK. All authors have read and approved the final
manuscript.
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